(photo from Civil Eats)
In 2008 the Food and Drug Administration declared a natural zero-calorie sweetener derived from the herb Stevia safe for use in foods and beverages. A long time favorite of natural foodies, Stevia, or sweetleaf, is a tender herb native to South America (zones 10, 11 ). Its extract is widely sold here as the tabletop sweetener, Truvia.
There is a good reason why stevia is called sweetleaf. Its dried leaves are 15 times sweeter than ordinary table sugar and a glycoside that can be extracted from Stevia leaves is 300 times sweeter than sucrose!
The story of stevia is quite interesting. It shows how a natural product can be banned by the government, only to be adopted by the largest multi-national beverage manufacturers in the world (Pepsi, Coca Cola) and then ushered in by the FDA.
Stevia’s “natural” label will indeed make it the holy grail of sweeteners.
(from the blog Zanthan Gardens)
This annual is a fragrant, bright green herb that grows 12 inches high in well drained soil and full sun. It sports small white flowers in summer. It will look wonderful in a mixed flower herb garden of Basil, Catnip, Golden Sage, Lavender, and annual flowers.